Chicago Bears must prepare for quick passes against Carolina Panthers
The Chicago Bears need to be prepared to defend the quick pass
The Carolina Panthers are a surprising 3-2 heading into their week six battle with the Chicago Bears. A lot of that has to do with an improved offense that saw a lot of shuffling at quarterback but may have found something with Teddy Bridgewater.
While the Chicago Bears thought of adding Bridgewater this offseason, he is a perfect fit with Joe Brady, who has a past history with Bridgewater, similar to the Bears coaches and Nick Foles. Bridgewater jumped into a familiar scheme and by week he is humming with this offense.
The clear factor is that Bridgewater gets the ball out of his hands quickly, and he is safe with the football. According to NextGenStats Bridgewater averages 2.55 seconds per pass attempt, which is behind only Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Foles, and Phil Rivers.
Foles is getting the ball out as quick as anyone, but what is interesting to note is that Bridgewater has been even more conservative than Foles. Bridgewater averages 6.6 intended air yards per pass, while Foles averages 8.4. Only Jared Goff, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton throw shorter passes on average.
The percent of passes he throws into a tight window is 8.4% which is second to only Russ Wilson at 8.3% as the two least aggressive passers. For comparison, Foles and Trubisky are the two most aggressive, or tight window passers. Trubisky has a 31% rating, and Foles is 23.9%.
Lastly, Bridgewater throws the ball 2.3 yards short of the first down markers. That again is the fourth shortest distance. However, that all combined for a 73% completion rating, and a 69.9% expected completion rate, which is second in the NFL, behind only Drew Brees.
Stat for stat, the Panthers have taken a similar Saints offense that the Bridgewater and Joe Brady is familiar with and they are getting the ball out quick and getting the ball into their skill players’ hands in space.
So far, it is working. Of course, the Chicago Bears could change that. When looking at the percent of dropbacks under pressure, Bridgewater ranks fourth. He sees a lot of clean pockets throwing the ball so fast. However, while Tom Brady holds onto the ball longer, he ranks fifth in percent passes under pressure. We saw how that went last week as Brady faced the most pressure of his 2020 season against Chicago.
Still, the Bears have to note that while the front four will do their jobs, the back end needs to play things tight, and take away the short passing. This will be a big game for Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan to keep things in front of them and buy time for the pass rush.